Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

After drought and deluge due to low pressure induced heavy rains, another calamity has struck farmers in Odisha in recent weeks.

Thousands of farmers are in distress in Badachana block under Jajpur district as pest attack has destroyed acres of lands with standing Rabi crop.

As per reports, the attack by 'Kalimukhi'- insect that feeds on black gram leaves-has damaged crops in hundreds of acres of lands in Anaka, Kundala and Krushnapur Sasan villages. Moreover, the containment measures have suffered a setback owing to severe shortage of pesticides.

"Our paddy crops were damaged due to severe drought followed by heavy rain. We were hopeful of making up the losses with black gram cultivation. However, our hopes have been shattered on account of severe pest attack. Most of our crops have been destroyed and we are helpless," said Jayram Jena, a farmer.

Out of frustration some farmers have sown black gram seeds in their lands once again. But the seeds are not germinating due to the change in climatic conditions.

Agriculture is the main occupation of most of the people in the area. But the prevailing situation has hit the livelihood of the marginal farmers hard. With no options left, they have urged the State government to provide them compensation.

"Our livelihood is at stake due to repeated natural calamities throughout the year. Due to continuous crop loss, it has now become difficult for us even to make our ends meet. We request the State administration to provide us adequate compensation for our living," said another farmer Abhimanyu Singh.

Meanwhile, Jajpur Additional Collector Akshay Kumar Mallik has ordered the Agriculture department to take stock of the situation and submit a report to the district administration immediately.

"An inquiry has been ordered into the incident. After getting a detailed report, necessary steps will be taken immediately to extend all possible help to the farmers who have suffered damage to their Rabi crop due to pest attack," said Mallik.

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